It was the merest slip of the tongue that may just have given away the gender of a future monarch.
The Duchess of Cambridge has given the biggest hint yet as to the sex of her baby as she chatted to a member of the public during a visit to a cold, foggy Grimsby yesterday.
Handed a teddy bear as a gift, the duchess said: “Thank you, I’ll take that for my d . . . ”, before stopping herself short before going any further. And when a well-wisher asked if she was in the process of saying “daughter” she replied: “We’re not telling.”
Diana Burton, 41, handed the duchess a white teddy bear.
Sandra Cook, 67, who was next to her in the crowd, said later: “I distinctly heard her say ‘thank you, I’ll take that for my d . . . ’ then she stopped herself. I said to her: ‘You were going to say daughter weren’t you?’ and she said ‘No, we don’t know’.
“I said ‘Oh I think you do’, to which she said: ‘We’re not telling’.”
The duchess, who is due to give birth in July, has claimed not to know the sex of her baby.
However, the comment is expected to be seized upon by royal observers across the globe. Precedent dictates that the sex of royal babies is never announced in advance.
The duchess, whose helicopter from Kensington Palace was delayed due to adverse weather, smiled as flag-waving spectators chanted “We want Kate”.
With her baby bump visible beneath her chocolate-coloured Hobbs coat, the duchess began her visit at the Lincolnshire town’s National Fishing Heritage Centre.
Six-year-old Zara Williams gave Kate a bunch of pink roses. She said: “She was really pretty. She was really nice to me.”
The duchess was met by local dignitaries before visiting adults and children who were patients at nearby St Andrew’s Hospice.
She was told by hospice patient Claire Moss-Smith, 86: “I’m waiting for you to be Queen.” Kate laughed and replied: “You might be waiting a long time.”